Crank the oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice the acorn squash in half, lengthwise. Clean out the seeds. Place the halves skin side down in a broiler or roasting pan. [If any of the squash is really tippy- you can slice a thin piece off the bottom to make it sit still.]
Pour water into the pan- you'll need a good inch or two (this helps keep the squash from scorching/sticking to the pan). Prick the hollow of the squash with a fork to make a few tiny holes. Drizzle the squash with olive oil, and some pure maple syrup until it collects in the hollow. Don't be stingy with the maple syrup- you'll use it later. Season with sea salt. Place the pan into the preheated oven.
Roast the squash until it is fork tender-but not totally soft; you'll be baking it again.
Meanwhile- make your stuffing.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium sweet or red onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. organic grass fed ground beef/turkey
2 cups Baby Bella mushrooms, chopped
1 small green or red bell pepper, seeded, cored, diced
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
A dash of spicy curry, red pepper, or other spice, to taste
2 yellow tomatoes, seeded, diced
1-2 teaspoons dried Italian Herbs, to taste- basil, oregano, marjoram, sage, thyme
Splash of balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon agave nectar- or molasses
1/4 cup good ketchup- Muir Glen is good
1/2 cup of broth- such as Better Than Bouillon- Organic Beef- make and set aside
Fresh chopped parsley, as needed
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion and garlic; stir for a minute or two. Add the ground beef, mushrooms, pepper and tomatoes; season with spices and herbs and stir. Brown the meat a good bit. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, the agave nectar, and ketchup; stir; keep it on a low simmer and don't over-cook it. Take it off the heat as soon as the pinkness leaves the beef. Toss in some fresh chopped parsley.
Remove the squash halves from the oven. Let them cool a bit in the pan. When they have cooled enough to handle, pour off the syrupy liquid (captured in the hollow) into a large measuring cup. Set aside.
Lower the heat in the oven to 350 degrees F.
Stuff each squash with the beef-mushroom filling.
Add the broth you made earlier to the maple syrup-olive oil mixture and mix well. Pour a little over the filling of each squash.
If the water has totally evaporated from the pan, add more- just an inch or two. Bake the squash for 25 to 30 minutes (or a bit longer if the ingredients have cooled), until piping hot- and the squash is tender.
Note: cover loosely with foil, to help keep it moist, if you like.
For serving, sprinkle with some fresh chopped parsley.
Makes six servings.